124: Court Room Drama

on December 26, 2007 in 05: The Weekend Shift

In Which Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

With the clothes wadded up in my arms, I made the decision to bolt for my room before even pulling on the t-shirt… a decision I came to regret when it took me approximately forever and a half to fumble my key out of my pocket and get the door open.

I heard a door opening–Sooni’s, I think–as I was getting inside, but I closed and locked the door before whoever it was could comment on my state.

I got myself changed, leaving the wet jeans and the torn top on my chair, and checked myself in the mirror. I couldn’t help noticing how very pale I was, but my hair, being damp, was actually fairly well-behaved.

I stood on my toes to look through the peephole and made sure the immediate hall was clear before making a break for it.

I passed Mariel in the stairwell. She turned her head very pointedly and looked at the wall. I thought about saying something to her, then thought better of it… then thought better of that.

“You might want to wait a while before going back to your room,” I told her. “Puddy’s probably not in a very good mood.”

“What did you do?” she asked accusingly, and I didn’t have any answer I could give her.

“Just… be careful,” I said.

You be careful,” she said. “I don’t have any reason to worry. Puddy loves me as much as she hates you… I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.”

“Well… I don’t want her anger at me to end up affecting you,” I said.

“It won’t,” she said. “Somebody should really teach you how to mind your own business.”

I’d tried.

Ian was waiting for me inside the union, at the top of the stairs.

“Are you okay?” he asked, taking in my appearance with more relief than concern. I couldn’t blame him for that.

“Mostly, yeah,” I said. I wanted a chance to explain things to him, as much as would be possible. “Can we sit down for a bit?”

“Sure,” he said, and he took both my hands in his and led us over to the seating area outside the food court.

“I, uh… I didn’t keep you waiting, did I?” I asked as we sat down across a small table from each other. I really wasn’t sure about this… time had gone all wonky a couple of times.

“Not really… though I’m not sure how long I would have stayed, anyway. I was thinking about giving up and going back to Weyland,” he said. “Or heading to Harlowe to find you, or looking for Amaranth.”

“Which… um… which one would you have done?” I asked, not sure I wanted to know but needing to ask.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I really don’t. My first thought when I saw you all… like that… was that I should get a hold of Amaranth, but then I realized I didn’t have any clue how to find her. Then I thought about just going home… but… well… I thought that would be like giving up.” He squared up his shoulders and took a deep breath. “And really, I thought about it some more, and that didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Going back to my room and trying to forget about you, asking Bohd if I could move desks, finding somebody else to tutor me… managing that class would be hard, but the rest would be so much easier.”

“Ian, you can’t mean that,” I said, stung. It didn’t matter that I probably wasn’t good for him… it still hurt to hear that he thought so, too.

“I just don’t have a ‘feel’ for you, Mackenzie,” he said. “At first I thought you were just a nice-looking girl who worked next to me in class, then I found out you weren’t human and I thought that meant you had to be, um… I’m just going to say it: a slut. Then I found out what you were and I thought that meant you were a dangerous soul-sucking monster… and then you go and convince me you really are just a nice girl, except then it turns out you’re also a slut, and if I wasn’t looking at a dangerous soul-sucking monster earlier this evening, it was a pretty a good imitation.”

“I don’t suck souls,” I said, and the correction seemed both inadequate and petulant. If things had gone a little differently, I really would have killed Rocky… or anybody else who crossed my path… and the first person my mind had turned to had been Ian. “And… do you really think I’m a slut?”

“Mackenzie, stop,” Ian said. “I’m not turning this into another game.”

“I don’t mean… I mean, I really want to know,” I said. “I don’t think I’m that slutty.”

“How many lovers do you have?” he asked.

“Only three!” I said. My own head underscored the irony.

“What would you think of me if I had a bunch of other girlfriends?” Ian asked.

“I’d try to be understanding… if you wanted to date other boys,” I said. “I only have one boyfriend, Ian. That’s got to count for something.”

“Yeah? Most girls only give head because they really like a guy… if they even give it at all,” Ian said with an air of certainty. “You seem to really enjoy it, and I know you don’t like me that much.”

“That makes me a slut?” I asked. I had thought the same thing myself… while doing it, even… but I still didn’t appreciate hearing it from him, not the way he was saying it. “The fact that I like going down on you?”

“Well… it doesn’t make you a nice girl,” he said. “Look, this is all way beside the point. What exactly happened to you today?”

“I… well… I got hungry,” I said. “You know, for my real food. I probably should have fed about a week ago, but I’ve had so much stuff on my mind, and I’ve been eating so much human food that it threw me off.”

“So, you forgot to eat and that turned you evil?” he asked, sounding doubtful.

“I’m always evil,” I said. “This just brought it to the surface.”

“You are not always evil,” Ian said. “In fact, before this happened, I was starting to think… well, never mind what I thought.”

“No, what?” I asked.

“I was starting to wonder if you hadn’t made it all up,” he said.

What?”

“You don’t look like a demon,” Ian said. “You look like some girl… and you act like one, too.”

“That’s because I am a girl,” I said. “And what do you think demons look like, exactly?”

“Not like you,” he said. “Anyway, why are you getting upset? When I told you that you don’t act like a demon, you took it as a compliment.”

“It was one,” I said. “But who’d be twisted enough to pretend to be something horrible just to get attention?”

“I wasn’t thinking you were ‘twisted’,” Ian protested. “I just thought… I mean, you seemed so normal, and I thought that maybe you wanted there to be something important or different about you… and if you happened to have an affinity for fire, anyway… well, I was wrong, obviously. Anyway, how’d you get back to normal?”

“You don’t want to know,” I said, and I prayed to nobody in particular that he’d take me at my word.

“You didn’t kill somebody, did you?” he asked.

“No!” I said. “All I need is a little blood. I told you that.”

“But the thing is, blood comes from the inside of people, and you can’t usually get it on the outside of them without doing some kind of damage,” Ian said. “And the way you were looking at me, I don’t think you would’ve let a little bit of skin and muscle get in your way. After seeing that, I don’t know if I can really trust you… let myself be alone with you… let you, well… I don’t think it’s going to work.”

“You’re afraid of me?” I asked. It was more hope… pointless, stupid hope… that had put any doubt in my mind on that score. Of course he was afraid of me. Who wouldn’t be?

“I’m not afraid of you,” Ian responded, affronted. “I just don’t think I’d be… comfortable… around you, and I don’t know how to fix that.”

He said that in a way that made it somehow sound crushingly final.

“We can have sex!” I said, suddenly, desperately… crazily. Sex? What was I saying?

“What?” he asked.

“So you’d be comfortable,” I explained, my mouth apparently one step ahead of my brain, as usual. “I started to think about you when I woke up and realized I was hungry… but… if I’d had sex with you, then I would have known you were off the menu.”

“Oral sex doesn’t count?” he asked.

“I don’t know!” I admitted. “But I know full-on regular sex must, so… if we do that… you’ll be safer, next time.”

“Next time?” he said. “There’s going to be a next time?”

“Well, I don’t want there to be one,” I said. “But… call it ‘just in case’. Look, I’m offering this for your benefit… I hate the idea of letting anybody near my… well, between my thighs, so it isn’t like I’m really going to enjoy it.”

“How do you always manage to make a proposition sound so tempting?” Ian asked.

“Ian, I just don’t want to lose you,” I said. “Please.”

“Even leaving aside the hunger issues, you don’t act like it,” he said, shifting around in his chair.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“For one thing, there’s the fact that you can’t take me at my word when I tell you I’ve already had sex,” Ian said.

“Ian, please… I don’t care that much, but I just told Amaranth I can’t be in a relationship with somebody who lies to me,” I said.

“Not that I am lying, but it shouldn’t matter if I was,” he said. “If you’re with a guy, you don’t go after his manhood.”

“I’m not ‘going after’ anything,” I said, desperation yielding its place neatly to anger and irritation. “And where do you get the idea that ‘manhood’ has anything to do with the amount of girls you’ve slept with?”

“This isn’t something I’d expect you to understand,” Ian said.

“Because I’m a girl?” I asked. “Which is also why you’re ‘not afraid’ of me, I suppose.”

“Oh, don’t be like that!” Ian said. “Look at us, though… how many different things have we fought about just since you got here tonight?”

“We aren’t fighting, and anyway, it’s really still more late afternoon than… oh,” I said.

“Mackenzie, I really wanted to like you,” he said. “And I think you honestly want to like me…”

“I do like you!” I protested.

“I don’t want to be the token boyfriend of somebody who may or may not turn evil and try to eat me,” Ian said. “Every relationship’s got some kind of trade-off in it, but I can’t see what I’m getting out of this.”

“You aren’t my ‘token’ anything,” I said.

“No, not any more,” he agreed.

“Ian…” I pleaded, my eyes watering up. Was he serious? Okay, maybe he was right: there was absolutely no reason for him to stay with me. But… he was my boyfriend. I was his girlfriend. You couldn’t end that kind of connection just by breaking up with somebody, could you?

I mean, that’s what breaking up was, obviously… but still…

“Mackenzie, it’s for the best,” he said, standing.

“How can you say that?” I asked, tears spilling down my face. I felt an overwhelming feeling not just of loss, but of rejection and also shame… I’d done things with Ian because he was my boyfriend, because we were dating. If that wasn’t true any more, if our relationship had barely lasted a week, then…

“Don’t cry!” he said quickly, his voice full of concern tinged with embarrassment. Well, I was embarrassed, too. We were in public, after all. He came around the table and put his hand on my shoulder. “Look… don’t…”

“I can’t help it,” I cried. Maybe it was melodramatic considering how short a time I’d known him, but it was hitting me that Ian was more than a cute chunk of normality… he was the first guy I’d dated, the first guy I’d danced with, the first guy I’d been any kind of intimate with. Also the only guy, for all of those points.

He sighed and sat down next to me.

“Look… maybe I didn’t think this through,” he said. “When you came here, I was only thinking that I might want to end it. I wasn’t planning on actually doing anything, but then we started fighting…”

“I wasn’t fighting!” I protested, my voice cracking.

Ian chuckled and shook his head.

“Even when you’re sobbing, you’re still kind of pretty,” he said. “And… you still find ways of making me want to smack you.”

“You can, you know,” I said, sniffling. “I really wouldn’t mind.”

“Stop it,” he said, and there was a cold, hard edge in his voice that was almost as good as a smack. I leaned against him, trying to will my eyes to dry up and my chest to stop heaving. I succeeded only in adding hiccups to the mix.

“Do you still want to get some dinner?” Ian asked after a while.

“I don’t think I could keep anything down,” I said. “But I would like to say hi to Two. She’s supposed to be working at White House today.”

“Okay,” Ian said.

Two was at the counter, with a trainee nametag. She greeted me with, “Welcome to White House, may I take your order? Hi, Mack!”

“Hi, Two,” I said, grinning like an idiot with tears still on my cheeks, and then I stepped aside so Ian could order. I’d been worried about how my mind would react to seeing Two after the awful things I’d envisioned, but there really was no way I could see her and not feel better.

Ian initially ordered four cheeseburgers and some onion rings for himself, then after Two convinced me that I should try to eat something–reminding me that a cookie wasn’t a meal–he knocked it down to two burgers so he could get my chicken strips on his punch, too. I felt a little bad, but four seemed excessive, anyway.

Two apologized for having to charge us. She explained that Kyle, her trainer, had told her that they weren’t supposed to give free stuff to their friends, but that everybody did it, anyway. She was still working that out.

“I’m not really supposed to ‘chat’, either,” she said once we had our food, her eyes darting around as if she feared apprehension.

“There’s no line,” Ian pointed out. “Everybody’s probably heading up to the field, anyway.”

“Goodbye, Two,” I said, pulling on Ian’s sleeve before we ended up distressing her. “Thanks for the cookie.”

“You’re welcome. Goodbye, Mack,” Two said. “Goodbye, Ian.”

While we ate, Ian asked me if I really would have gone through with the sex thing. I told him quite honestly that I didn’t know, and then we ate in silence for a while before we ended up abusing everybody who was dumb enough to go to the skirmish match.

I tiptoed a little guiltily around the issue of actual skirmish players, though.

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4 Responses to “124: Court Room Drama”

  1. Kalistri says:

    Not sure the words “feared apprehension” were what you were actually going for when Two says that she’s not supposed to chat.

    Current score: 0
  2. kmt says:

    Yes, that is what AE was going for. Two feared being apprehended. The noun form of the verb “apprehend” is “apprehension.”

    Current score: 1
  3. capybroa says:

    >“Yeah? Most girls only give head because they really like a guy… if they even give >it at all,” Ian said with an air of certainty. “You seem to really enjoy it, and I know >you don’t like me that much.”

    >“That makes me a slut?” I asked. I had thought the same thing myself… while >doing it, even… but I still didn’t appreciate hearing it from him, not the way he >was saying it. “The fact that I like going down on you?”

    >“Well… it doesn’t make you a nice girl,” he said.

    Wow, fuck right off, Ian. You’re getting blowjobs on demand and you’re slutshaming the girl who’s doing that for you? And then you break up with her. She’s better off without you, dude.

    Current score: 10
    • Codeword says:

      Right? My first thought was “You know you were her first blow job, and she’s told you she’s not having sex with her gf’s, AND you’ve REPEATEDLY talked about all the pussy you got in HS (Which I’m with Mack on this, and am not sure if that was a real thing, or some macho made up crap) and you call HER the slut?” Ugh. Though I still say in general, women treat women way worse than men treat women. At least I feel like most of the time men just “don’t get it”. Women are vindictive.

      Current score: 1